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'Removing obstacles, changing lives,' Mesquite ISD prioritizing back-to-school safety

'Removing obstacles, changing lives,' Mesquite ISD prioritizing back-to-school safety
'Removing obstacles, changing lives,' Mesquite ISD prioritizing back-to-school safety 03:36

MESQUITE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Mesquite ISD Superintendent Dr. Angel Rivera has the backing of trustees in a time many consider more challenging in education than ever before.

"What I want the Mesquite community to know, is that when they send their students to Mesquite, we have their best interest at heart when it comes to safety, education, and mental health." 

Molding young minds is what Dr. Rivera says he lives for, but he understands no matter the age or the grade….the first thing on everyone's mind is safety and security. 

His assistant superintendent,Taylor Morris, (in charge of that sector) has noticed other districts doing exterior building lock checks at least every week. Mesquite ISD won't stop there. 

"What we decided, is four times a day. Our high schools are doing it twice before lunch. They're also doing it twice after lunch. Our elementary schools are doing the same thing, says Morris. 

The district even has new security technology to ensure the welfare of students and staff. But school officials are keeping this technology secret. 

"At the end of the day, we're putting these things in place to prevent bad guys from getting on our campuses. If bad guys know all their impediments they have to get around, we're busy helping them out," says Morris. 

Where the district is offering assistance in any way possible, is when it come to the Balch Springs fire that destroyed or damaged dozens of homes. The fire impacted close to 40 students.

Jennifer Mobley, who directs federal programs and student support for the district, says "I have a team of eight social workers, who primarily worked with families who have displaced housing. So, that team went into full effect immediately." 

The Mesquite ISD Family Support Center is overflowing with donations. And the district has made the affected families one promise. In Mobley's words, "Your kids are gonna stay in Mesquite and we're going to send the bus to get them. Within 2-3 days, we had school supplies and clothing for those kids for a whole week worth of school." 

What would be music to everyone's ears, is to have a teacher in every classroom. Looking at the nearly 2,000 openings in North Texas, Mesquite ISD is working feverishly, like every district to fill the void. 

They also have a vision of what those people should represent. Rivera points out "Our kids need leaders who are vibrant, have new idea and have the energy to deal with the problems we are facing today." 

Rivera knows the variables of today, as children return to school, are arguably the most difficult ever and ever changing. But, his commitment remains the same. 

"My job as superintendent is simple. I remove obstacles, so my educators can change lives."

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